Qwelane 'the wrong man'

OPPOSITION parties are up in arms over President Jacob Zuma's appointment of veteran journalist Jon Qwelane, pictured, as South Africa's ambassador to Uganda, with the Democratic Alliance saying Qwelane is a self-confessed homophobe.

Qwelane, who spoke out against the persecution of Zuma by the media and National Prosecuting Authority when Zuma was being investigated for fraud and corruption, is also seen as a Zuma loyalist.

DA spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko said the appointment would "damage South Africa's credibility internationally as a country that promotes tolerance and human rights".

The government of Ugandan president Yuweri Museveni has proposed a new law that will impose life imprisonment on homosexuals.

The mooted legislation has divided members of the Commonwealth, with Britain and Canada openly opposed to the abuse of homosexuals.

Mazibuko said: "Jon Qwelane is an admitted homophobe and his appointment could be seen as a tacit endorsement of the repressive stance Uganda is taking on homosexuality.

"The Ugandan government is in the process of installing the death penalty for homosexual acts, and the DA is of the opinion that the appointment of Qwelane will not take the serious nature of this into account.

"Instead of sending an admitted homophobe to Uganda, South Africa should make an effort to demonstrate its disapproval of this policy."

Mazibuko said Zuma's government should be lobbying other members of the Commonwealth to isolate the Ugandan government.